I don't know how recent some of these postings are, and I'm new to these boards. I have been playing the "How To Host A Murder" party games for a few years now. I bought most of the originals when they first appeared and played them with family and friends while still in High School/College. I put the games away with the thought that when I eventually had a new group of friends, we'd start again. And I have done so, starting last December. In general, I enjoy HTHAM. Some plots I enjoyed better than others. Some were so complex or down right silly that they made no sense.
I have taken to re-editing a lot of the parties. I'll rewrite the scripts, if I feel that game itself needs, IMHO, to be revamped. We've done 4 parties this past year. Two of them, were the How to Host a Murder parties. We played "The Class of '54" in the summer. It went well. I used the game as is, with no changes. I think most people like this title because most of us, even the younger crowd, can get into the 50's story line and it's easy to decorate. I dressed the place up as a malt shop, complete with seperate blue and white checkered tables and on line you can find scores of 50's decorations. Add some great 50's classic music, and your all set to go. The costumes are some of the easiest to obtain, and the characters are a lot of fun arch-types, from the greaser to the nerd, from the cheerleader to the valedictorian. Just a few weeks ago, we did "The Last Train From Paris." This was one of my personal favorite titles. I enjoyed the mystery and the complex nature of the crime. And the setting, onboard a luxry train during WWII was fun. I got a train sounds CD and set the tables up like an old fashioned dining car. Just think "Casablanca" and you're on the right track. This game did need some editing though, in my opinion. I felt that many of the clues were presented in the wrong rounds. I rewrote the game simply to make sure that the clues/facts appeared in chronological order. For example, Round One dealt with most of the facts that occured as the passengers boarded the train, or slightly before. If the game is played the normal way, you may find some facts in Round Four, pertain to what happened before boarding. I think the way I rewrote it helped with the flow of the game a lot easier and was easier for my guests to keep track of events. Mind you, no one solved the crime, however I did let the murderer know ahead of time that they did the dead and each round in their secret information, showed them how they did it step by step. I also gave that person permission to lie. I must say, everyone enjoyed it, as the murderer did an amazing job and was voted the winner for fooling everyone. I like to make sure that at the end of the evening, the guests don't feel cheated and that they had a fair shot at guessing the killer's identity. We're going to play "Hoo Hung Woo" this spring, but that one will definately need some work. I feel the original plot, though hilarious and enjoyable, needs a lot of work. There's so much going on in this one, and not enough clues or fair play to unmask the culprit in my opinion. From past experiences, I'd say "The Class of '54", "The Last Train from Paris", and "A Matter of Faxe" are some of the best in the line.